Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Culture

My friend and guest is Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked, due out May 15 from Camel Press.  She's also the author of the delightful Murder for Dessert from Poisoned Pen Press and two other books soon to be available on Kindle.
I live in a small town in South Carolina. I didn’t move here because I thought the opportunity for concerts, art exhibits, or evenings at the ballet would be on the agenda. I came because they had a good college and a good library in a quiet, small town setting. The concerts and art exhibits were close enough, so was a major airport.
Imagine my surprise when I heard that Gaffney was getting a traveling exhibit put together by the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian? Here? In Gaffney? Yep. An exhibit dedicated to the history of American music. I rushed to see it, thinking I’d be one of the few, hoping I was wrong. I was. The place has been packed, as have been the concerts associated with it.
My grandkids stayed with me over spring break. One day, while we were driving somewhere, my granddaughter announced she had an idea for a book and I was to write it. Oh, no. It’s your idea, you write it, I said. How about if we write it together, was her answer. Sounded good to me, so I asked her the plot. Talk about gory! But, we’re going to write the story. We’ve already started.
Here we have two things not connected in any way. Right? Wrong. They are both about story. The history of our country is told in the songs represented in the Smithsonian exhibit, the folk songs, the ballads, the anthems, they’re our collective story, what has made us Americans told in song. That’s one of the reasons so many people have wandered through the exhibit, have listened to the concerts. It was story, the joy of making one up, of letting her imagination run wild, that made the telling of that gruesome little tale so much fun for my granddaughter, but there were other things in there. Ghosts and other scary things were dealt with, and conquered, children were in danger, but were rescued by parents, also by the dog, and in the end, the children rescued the parents. We worked through a lot more than just some exciting plot points in that half-hour, and we had a lot of fun doing it.
Since mankind drew pictures on the walls of caves, we’ve been telling stories, in song, in dance, in drawings, and in—stories. We’ve kept our history alive through stories. We’ve made sense out of scary things, like death and destruction, and chronicled our high points and our low, At first, we told them around a camp fire or listened to them in the town square. Now we write them down, print them into books or read them on our iphones. The means have changed, but our love, our need for stories hasn’t. They connect us. They  make us laugh, and cry. They take us places we’d never go, introduce us to people we’d otherwise never meet, make us think about things in ways we’ve never thought about before. All through stories.
Story telling--it’s in our DNA. 
Kathleen's website:

A little about Murder Half-Baked. Ellen McKenzie’s newest real estate client, Grace House, is a home for women in transition, and she needs to find them a new location, quick. The old one has burned down and the residences have moved in with her. The arsonist is still on the loose and the dead body of Grace House’s doctor has been found in the cemetery. It appears as if the murderer is one of Ellen’s unexpected guests, only which one? Her wedding to Dan Dunham is in just four weeks, crowds of relatives are poised to arrive, she needs to find the murderer before that happens, and what on earth is she going to do with that new baby?

5 star review from Manic Readers Review Depot
Praise for Kathleen Delaney’s other books: And Murder For Dessert. Give
First Place
to Murder, Dying For A  Change
Kirkus: “Engaging characters make Delaney’s debut an enjoyable addition to the cozy scene.”
Publishers Weekly: “Delaney’s choice of setting, gossipy milieu and colorful…suspects help keep Ellen scrambling, and move the action right along.”



Donnell said...

Oh wow, fabulous post, and I love storytelling is in our DNA. So true! Congratulations on your great reviews, Kathleen!

Sandy Cody said...

Thanks to both Kathleen and Ellis for bringing this post to us. I agree that the love and even the need for stories is part of our DNA. How else can we interpret the crazy mix that makes us who we are?

Polly said...

Great post, Kathy. I think you've nailed the DNA thing. Stories populate the minds of writers. Get one out there, another comes to the fore. Looks like there'll be another writer in your family, and isn't she lucky she has someone like you to help her along.

Linda Lovely said...


A wonderful message. Your granddaughter's so lucky to have you (a terrific storyteller) as her mentor. Can't wait to read Murder Half Baked. I thoroughly enjoyed And Murder for Dessert.

Kathleen Delaney said...

Thank you all. I hope you enjoy this one as well. The big day is almost here and I'm getting excited, and nervous. Kathleendersta

Ellis Vidler said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Kathy. I do think story-telling is part of the human story, one of the best parts. My grandchildren are story-tellers too. Both love to read, so it must be really strong in our DNA. Fun, isn't it?
Can't wait for your book to come out!

Barbara Monajem said...

Sounds like a great plot! Well, two great ones -- the story you're writing with your granddaughter and Murder Half-Baked.

We used to drive through Gaffney quite often when my kids were young, and it lives in my memory as the place with the gigantic peach. :)

elysabeth said...

Great job - and how exciting that a new book is being released in a few days. Congrats on that. Kudos to your granddaughter for speaking up and suggesting you write the story together. Good luck - see you in the postings or meetings - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?

bj said...

I enjoyed your blog. Thanks for posting. Soon you and your Granddaughter will be discussing whose name come first on the cover.